Home > Fate Interrupted (Moonstone Cove #3)

Fate Interrupted (Moonstone Cove #3)
Author: Elizabeth Hunter

 


Chapter 1

 

 

Megan Alston-Carpenter sat across from the most stubborn man she knew, very tempted to use her telekinesis to whack him over the head with the bottle of beer on his desk. She still couldn’t use her psychic abilities for delicate operations, but thumping a dumbass? That was in her wheelhouse.

“Are you telling me” —she forced her voice to be calm— “that there are no spare wine barrels on this winery anywhere? Not even three?”

Nico Dusi leaned back in his chair, keeping his expression blank. “I know what you’re trying to do.”

“What’s that? Advocate for the bride of an upcoming wedding on your property? Look out for my client? Protect the dreams and hopes of a girl—”

“Ashley Harrington is a twenty-seven-year-old woman who runs her own business and is one of the top large-animal vets in the county, Megan.” Nico rolled his eyes. “Are you telling me her hopes and dreams are going to be crushed if she doesn’t get three wine barrels stacked just where she wants them so her eight million guests can take pictures?”

Megan lost her patience. “It’s six hundred and thirty-two confirmed guests, Nico, and why are you being such an ass about this?” She could hear her accent getting stronger. Her fingers twitched, and the beer bottle on Nico’s desk wobbled. Just a little.

Nico’s eyes widened. “An ass? I’m not being an ass about anything. I’ve already rearranged two work crews so this couple’s ‘special day’ at a winery isn’t ruined by the actual business of, you know, vineyards and grapevines and shit like that. This isn’t an event venue, Megan.”

“Except that it is, Nico.” Megan leaned forward. “You poured tens of thousands of dollars into those wine caves so it could be exactly that. And then you hired me to make the events happen. So yes, this is an event venue. And those wine casks with Dusi stamped on the end of the barrels aren’t just props that the bride wants, they’re free advertising posted on the social media pages of—let me say it again for you— six hundred and thirty-two confirmed guests.” She leaned back. “So tell me what your objection to free advertising is.”

Nico’s eyes narrowed. “Is this actually Ashley’s request? Or is her father—?”

“Is her father what? Paying for the wedding? Yes, he is. Why does that annoy you so much?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Because Harrington tried to put my cousin out of business with that fucking car lot directly across the street from— You know what? I already told you all this, and I think I was pretty generous to agree to even have this wedding here. I cannot stand that woman’s father. His whole family—”

“Careful.” Megan’s voice was quiet. “Careful with that one.”

“What?” Nico pursed his lips. “What about his family do you know that I don’t, Atlanta?”

Why had she taken this job? Was a paycheck really worth it? Sure, it was her biggest opportunity since moving from Atlanta to California, and sure, she really needed to rebuild her brand after leaving everything in Georgia for her pig of an ex-husband, but were either of those things enough to keep working for Nico Dusi?

Arrogant, pigheaded Nico Dusi? She rued the day that Nico had heard his cousin—whom Megan adored—call her Atlanta. Coming from Toni, it was a friendly endearment. From Nico, it felt like a jab.

Megan spoke carefully because she knew that in this, she and Nico were far more similar than different. “Ashley Harrington can’t control who her father is any more than our kids can control who their parents are.”

Nico turned his steely gaze toward a window overlooking the rolling hills covered in grapevines that blanketed the land where Dusi Heritage Winery was located.

“It would kill me,” she continued, “if my children were judged by my ex-husband’s behavior. I have a feeling you might be able to relate.”

Nico’s ex-wife had been public in her numerous postmarital affairs, most with notably older and richer men than her former husband. She had broken up more than one marriage in the years since she’d left Nico. Megan had half a suspicion that Nico’s ex, Marissa, and Megan’s ex-husband, Rodney, were sleeping with each other just to create drama.

Nico huffed out an irritated breath. “Fine. I’ll get one of the guys to modify one of the racks so it’ll fit on the patio outside the caves for the reception.”

“I’m really not trying to make extra work for you. The winery doesn’t have anything that will work already?”

“As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t a play vineyard. Our barrel racks are designed for large storage, not three barrels.” He rolled his eyes. “But I’m sure Henry can get one of the guys to make something that’ll work.” He waved a hand. “Like you said, it’s free advertising.”

Megan nodded. “Okay. Thank you.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Have I spared the hopes and dreams of the bride now? Can I get back to my beer? It’s been a long week.”

She raised her folder. “Just be glad you get to retreat to your house on the weekends. Mine are completely booked.”

Nico raised his beer bottle to her. “And Dusi Heritage Winery thanks you for it.”

She rose and walked to the door. “You’re welcome.”

“Hey, Megan?”

She turned before she reached the door. “Yes?”

“Please tell me that Harrington is paying through the nose to have his daughter’s wedding here.”

She smiled sweetly. “Well, since it’s high season for weddings, we have one of the newest and most desirable venues on the coast, and his daughter just had to have it here… of course he is.”

Nico smiled. “Music to my ears, and the accent just makes it all the more brutal.”

Ugh. Why did he have to pick that moment to smile? No grown man with a five-o’clock shadow should have lips like Nico’s. Full, kissable lips on a face that looked as if it were carved by a Renaissance sculptor. His lips were ridiculous.

Not kissable. Punchable.

Mmmm. Kiss Nico.

Shut up, Sugar.

Megan had once taken a magazine quiz in college that gave her the stripper name Sugar Glitz Cheeks. She’d called her libido Sugar ever since, and since it had been nearly two years since Rodney had taken off, Sugar had been rearing her horny head more and more frequently.

“If you say so.” Megan looked down, avoiding the sight of Nico smiling. “At least my accent doesn’t sound like I’m reading the phone book to my grandmother.”

“I don’t know what that means.” He finished his beer. “But I’m going to assume it’s a compliment. What do we have going on this weekend?”

There were two houses at the top of the hill where the winery lived—the cottage, which had been built in the sixties as a guesthouse, and the main house, which was where Nico lived. Since the cottage was a decent distance from the main house, it was often used for smaller hired events. Nico’s own house was reserved for family events only.

“The cottage is hosting a golden wedding anniversary party that your mother referred to me, and on Sunday, it’s Dusi family Sunday dinner.”

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